My friend Rachelle came upon the idea of having some guest bloggers share their impressions of our shows out on the road. Bryan Perry was nice enough to share this write-up of our first show on the tour, at the lovely Morris Organic Farm in Irwin, PA:
My friends and family loved hearing Jason and his band at the Morris Farm outside Pittsburgh. Sitting among fireflies at the edge of rolling hills, you’d have though we were in Jason’s native North Carolina once he started his set.
He played extensively from his wonderful new album, Highliner, a collection of wistful originals that shape his current geography of longing, love, and journeying. Jason’s musicianship is excellent as ever – sometimes delicate, sometimes driving, always effortless – and seeing him in the flesh is a treat.
I especially liked the kinetic “Train,” which nicely highlighted Jason’s distinctive upper vocal range, and made me want to hop on a boxcar to follow him to his next tour stop. “When I Came Down Off the Mountain” was a bluegrassy, down-home track (even better on vinyl, with backup fiddles – buy it!) that I think will get playtime on independent radio.
My wife loved “Outposts,” a narrative ballad marked less by youthful yearning and more by wisdom and contentedness – maybe this is what you appreciate more around age 40?
Jason has a fondness for lost souls, what-ifs, and quirky turns of history; “Moon Mission” touches on the loneliness that can come with courage and transformation, and “Snowstorm” is sort of a love song that references George Washington’s plight in icy New Jersey – and teaches some valuable vocabulary lessons.
Late in the set, he played some old crowd favorites from previous collaboration with Brian Funck, including “Hand Drawn Flowers,” “Lionsong,” “Your Voice at Tidewater,” and a joyful, upbeat rendition of “Carolina,” which is a beautiful love letter to his home state. With top-notch support from drummer Gerko Tempelman and bassist Toby Hazlett, this was a great evening for a new listen to an old friend – catch Jason and Highliner this summer!